Former Volkswagen engine boss Wolfgang Hatz released from jail

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Former Volkswagen Group engine boss Wolfgang Hatz has been released from jail in Germany after nine months behind bars for his involvement in the Dieselgate scandal.

Harz was arrested back in September 2017 because he had headed the powertrain department of the Volkswagen Group at the time the company was cheating diesel emissions tests.

Despite his long stay in jail, the 59-year-old German is yet to go to trial for his charges. German law dictates that authorities can hold the accused for more than six months without trial in special circumstances.

Prosecutors believed an earlier release of Hatz could allow him to influence the investigation. Similarly, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested earlier this month over the risk that he might attempt to suppress evidence.

Both Hatz and Stadler are due to go to trial in separate cases for their involvement with the Dieselgate scandal.

Several other Volkswagen Group executives have been investigated in relation to the case. Last year, James Liang, Volkswagen’s former head of diesel competence in the US, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined $200,000. Oliver Schmidt, the former general manager in charge of Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering office, was sentenced to seven years.

The scandal has led to a major management shuffle at the Volkswagen Group. Most recently, Stadler was placed on leave due to his arrest. He has been temporarily replaced at the helm of Audi by the brand’s sales and marketing boss, Abraham Schot.

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